Ones Dirty Laundry Should Be Aired At Home
De chiquillo siempre me metía en lo que no me importaba. If someone was a having a conversation – the more private it was the better – there I was, con las orejas bien paradas, as my parents would say. Trying my hardest not to be noticed, listening carefully to what exactly was being said, and making every attempt to make sense of what I was hearing. When I didn’t understand the subject matter or context I’d make it up in my head – it was more fun that way anyways.
¡El metiche! That became my nickname and stuffing chisme after chisme into my morral became my business, even if I did not know exactly what to do with that information once I had it.
My sisters would get so mad when they would bring their friends over and could not have a private conversation without having to worry about Juan sitting around somewhere trying to listen. They were both in junior high at that time and their conversations never amounted to more than the usual schoolyard chatter, but I could never get enough. It was like a rush of adrenaline to know that I could get caught at any moment or even better, that they might spill the beans on something really juicy that I could then run around telling the rest of the family about.
Neither ever really occurred, so I kept listening.
Then one day my sister had a steady boyfriend. She couldn’t go anywhere with him without the company of at least my second oldest sister – just two years younger than her – and usually with the rest of us, her five younger siblings, tagging along for the walks in the park and trips to the pulga as well. My parents were old school, used to the way things were done in their rancho in Mexico, which unfortunately for her, being the oldest and all meant she’d have to deal with having the least amount of freedom in her teens out of all of us. So there we all were at the park. She and her now-husband always walking in front of us, holding hands, exchanging words in the lowest of tones so as to not to be heard by the rest of us. My other sister trying to keep us entertained, playing with us, making us run around all over the park, Los Patos, keeping up her end of the sisterly-pact, which I assumed meant ensuring my sister her privacy with her boyfriend.
I wasn’t having any of it though. When it became impossible to listen to what they were saying or even keep a close eye on them – every time I’d get close they’d shoo me away, sometimes literally dragging me away – my anger and frustration got the better of me. I must have been 10 or 11 years old, but I was a healthy sized boy with more muscle than even I was aware of apparently. In one single motion my hands were on her legs, her legs, in that short ruffled mini skirt, went flying up above my head, then hers, backwards over that bench they had been sitting on, past his frantic attempts to grasp them, and finally pointing straight up into the air, her back laying flat on the ground, as she stumbled to get back up enraged that because of her stupid little brother her boyfriend had now seen her chones!
On the way home that day I experienced the real first cachetada of my life, as well as a banana squished and splattered across my hair and face, combined with a painful dosage of pelizcones on one arm and then the other, as both my sisters ganged up on me for having embarrassed them so badly. My cheek burned so bad, and the pinches stung so much, that all I could do was cry. How could they have plastered and humiliated me so much with that single banana!?
In truth, I deserved it, for being such a pinche huerco! And in the end I learned a valuable lesson: los trapos sucios se lavan en casa. Never again would I air our dirty laundry out there in public like that.
For what, another banana split a’lo Guey!?